The Importance of Seeing The Big Picture
This is the time of year for me when so many professional membership annual renewals all come in together for me its frightening! One of the main points I suppose of professional memberships is to provide the public interested in my Chester Hypnotherapy Practice with credibility as to ones education, professional experience and background. The only point of this being that hopefully demonstrated experise and credibility hopefully brings my clients more peace of mind.
Every year I consider carefully each and every membership in terms of whether it is meaningful to renew and what it will demonstrate. It was when considering this week my annual renewal for my Membership of the Royal Society of Biology that it got me thinking again of the broad sphere of the area of work that I operate in now.
Therapy is an odd world, but especially my area of medical therapy, as it bridges not just the art of therapy and medicine but the science. As humans, we are highly complex creatures and to be able to empower another human to 'get better' and access their own healing, requires a set of very complex skills.
Recently reading the book Patient-Centered Medicine, by David H. Rosen and Uyen Hoang, I felt they summed up perfectly the complexity of the skills required in this paragraph
"To be a good doctor, a truly complete one, physicians must understand molecules and cells, organelles and organs, but they must also understand the complex, ineffable miracle we call “the person.” Even this will not suffice, however; people relate primarily in twos but live in still larger systems—families, communities, and the biosphere itself
So it takes a lot more than person-centred therapeutic skills alone, especially I think when, as in my practice, we are regularly working with body-based symptoms and expressions of dis-ease and stress (for example, headaches, high blood pressure, physical pain, skin disorders). It takes a complex understanding of the biology of human cells, even their internal structure and how cells communicate with each other. It takes understanding tissues and how these form together into organs that deliver certain functions, often multiple functions. Having spent a great deal of my early career studying as a PhD student human cell biology related to medicine and what occurs in cells and tissues when things go wrong, and then laterly in my medical career as a hopsital Pathologist, seeing with my own eyes and at my hands the disease process; its impossible for me to imagine being a medical therapist now, and doing the work I do without this background knowledge. its impossioble for me to imagine how I would work actually without knowing from the inside out what is occuring within a person at an organ and cellular level, as well as understanding their human experience.
So, in my opinion, being a Biologist and a Scientist IS important to my work both as a competence and in the ability to assess peer reviewed research evidence. I have again renewed my Royal Society of Biology membership. I have to say is deeply dear to me and hard won; they do not allow membership lightly. But again Rosen and Hoang explain better than I can though how science alone is not enough, when they say and I quote
"Ultimately, knowledge and intellect alone are not sufficient to make one a good doctor (I will also add therapist), but neither are compassion and empathy alone. We are dealing with .... real people who place themselves in our hands. What we do or do not do can make the difference between life and death, recovery and degeneration, health and illness.....ultimately it is our competence that determines the quality of our patients’ lives on countless levels. We cannot possibly be all things for all patients (clients). We cannot even be all things for one patient. Yet competence does demand that we do many things. Above all, competence requires one to see the big picture."
Above all, competence requires one to see the big picture.
Now seeing the big picture when it comes to medical therapy requires holding a very strange and broad space between medicine, therapy, science and humanity. It involves being able to pull back and look broadly, more broadly often than is usual for someone in any of the more typical health professions who don't straddle several fields.. Seeing the big picture takes some time It is so often this ability to take a broad view that makes all the difference in terms of being able to clearly identify the underlying patterns, causes, events and factors that need to be address for a successful positive outcome to occur. Its is often the on ething that I find that I can do differently when seeing a client who has already worked with previous therapists without success. So often I see that they have been sucked in by red herrings or not taken time to sit back and take in the big picture. This usually comes as a result of poor training, lack of confidence and inexperience as a practitioner. Even with all the evidence-based treatment theory in the world at ones fingertips, as therapists we still need always to clearly identify where the real problems lie (ie Diagnosis) before diving in with therapeutic tools or treatments. Anything other, in my view, is like throwing a bag of spanners at a broken down car and hoping whatever was causing the problem gets fixed.
Dr Emma Rae Rhead
Professional, Ethical Hypnotherapy in Chester, Cheshire
Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine
Memeber of the Royal Society of Biology